How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag – A Definitive Guide

how to turn a backpack into a sling bag

Almost everyone seems to own a backpack, from kindergarten kids to youths and adults. And the reason is obvious; backpacks are more versatile and convenient than any other bag type. You can use it for school, traveling and hiking.

Sadly, backpacks are rapidly being replaced by sling bags, especially for school, shopping, and just moving around. But some groups tend to think that shoulder bags are trendier than sling bags, and others go for crossbody bags. But will you always rush back to the store whenever a new trend is in town? Of course not.

Fortunately, I have a quick DIY on how to turn a backpack into a sling bag, among other trendy bags today.

How to Turn a Backpack into a Sling Bag 

Those of us are lucky enough to own a convertible backpack, which you can turn into a sling bag, shoulder bag, and others. In this case, turning the backpack into a sling bag is just a matter of changing the hook and strap combination.

The challenge creeps in when you want to transform a real backpack, which has no conversion options, into a sling bag. Wait! It is not actually a challenge if you are reading this. So, let’s dig into the process;

First of All You Need

  1. Scissors
  2. A sewing kit

Step 1: Identify Your Bag Straps

Some bags will come with removable straps; others have a removable option on one side.

Now, if your bag has removable straps on the upper side, this means you don’t actually need the scissors. Instead, you will simply remove one Strap without causing it damage. In any case, you might need to get the backpack design someday.

Then, unstrap the remaining Strap from its normal position at the bottom and cross it to the bottom position where the other Strap should be. Adjust the Strap to be longer when you want to cross the bag on your body. If you want to use it as a should sling bag, you can always readjust to a shorter strap.

However, if the backpack straps are sewn onto the bag, this is where the scissors come in.

Step 2: Identify the Strap You Want to Use

Both straps on a backpack indeed serve the same purpose. However, one may be in good condition than the other. For instance, if you have been using your backpack on one shoulder before finally resolving for the sling bag model, your right shoulder strap must be weaker.

Therefore, you will take the left shoulder strap, which is definitely in better condition.

Step 3: Cut the Other Strap

Now, cut the Strap that you will not be using. If you are thinking of reusing the bag as a backpack, you should cut it from the position to reconnect the Strap.

Then, cut the remaining Strap with the scissors from the bottom so that it hangs on one side.

Step 4: Sew the Remaining Strap Diagonally

Now you can sew the remaining hanging Strap diagonally to the point where the other Strap was connected at the bottom of the bag. Again, I prefer using my sewing machine for a clean job because you can also helm the areas where you left raw cuts.

However, if you don’t have a sewing machine and want to sew the bag yourself, a large, sturdy needle and thread can do the job.

Step 5: Try-On Your Sling Bag

Finally, you have your sling bag. You can lengthen the Strap for a longer and trendier look, which is also more comfortable. You can carry the bag at the back when walking leisurely. On the other hand, if you fear that the place you are walking in is crowded, you have the option to carry the sling bag from the side or front.

How to Turn a Backpack into a Shoulder Bag

Converting the backpack into a shoulder bag is as simple as converting a backpack into a sling bag. So, let’s get on with the process;

First of All You Need

  • Scissors
  • A Sewing kit

Step 1: Identify the Backpack Straps

Some people are lucky to have backpacks that have swivel hooks at the top and bottom. In this case, you will just remove one Strap, then the other Strap will go from one upper swivel hook to the other, and you have a shoulder bag.

However, if your backpack has fixed straps, let’s get the show on the road;

Step 2: Cutting the Strap(s)

Start by identifying the Strap you want to use for your shoulder bag. Then, cut the other Strap.  Also, cut the remaining Strap from the bottom so that it hangs on its upper part.

If the straps are thin, you can consider using them both as shoulder bag double straps.

In this case, you will only cut both straps at the bottom, then leave them hanging on the upper part.

Step 3: Sewing the Strap(s)

If you had one Strap remaining, sew it to the upper part where the other Strap was. If both straps are hanging, sew the right Strap to the left, adjacent to its counterpart. Then, sew the left Strap to the right, close to the right Strap.

Step 4: You Have a Shoulder Bag

Lastly, you can try on your shoulder bag, which you just made from a backpack.

How to Turn a Backpack into a Crossbody Bag

The good news is that you can turn your backpack into a crossbody backpack using the same procedure as a sling bag.

However, the shoulder strap should be longer in this instance, which is why you need an extra strap.

Once you cut the one Strap that you will not require in the crossbody bag;

  • Modify the Remaining Strap

The remaining Strap should be long enough to cross your body effortlessly. If the remaining Strap is not long enough, you will need to cut the throw-away Strap a sufficient piece to add to the Strap on the bag.

Then, sew it neatly on the bag, if possible, with the same colors.

And there you are, with a crossbody bag converted from a backpack.

Required Tools for Conversion of the Backpack into a Sling Bag

You will need a few tools to convert your backpack into a sling bag. These include;

  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Needle/ sewing machine
  • Swivel snaps if you want adjustable straps.

Why Should I Convert My Backpack into a Sling Bag?

A backpack is really versatile, but a sling bag has more carrying versatility than a backpack. You can use it as a shoulder bag, a crossbody bag, or just a sling bag. Moreover, you can carry it from the back like a backpack or from the side or front to keep your bag components in check.

Finally, it is no doubt that a sling bag has a classier and more modern outlook compared to a backpack. Therefore, you may find yourself feeling good about yourself and boosting your self-esteem while in school or around the streets in your sling bag.

Wrapping Up

How to turn a backpack into a sling bag? I prefer getting an adjustable backpack, which you can turn into a sling bag or a shoulder bag without using any tools. Even better, you can always get your backpack back at wish.

However, converting a backpack into a sling bag is also a great idea when this is not possible. The best part is that it doesn’t take much of your time, probably an hour or less. More importantly, you get to utilize a backpack you would probably throw away for a trendier and more attractive sling bag look.

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